Is my Pet Obese?
Bringing your pet to the veterinarian for regular physical exams is the best way to identify obesity and to discuss a plan for weight loss. It is also important to talk with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying disease that may be the cause of the problem. Here are some things your Vet considers when identifying obesity:
- The ribs of your pet should be easily felt without pressing, but not seen. There should not be a pad of fat over them.
- While looking at you pet from above when it is standing, there should be a visible “waist” between the back of the ribs and the hips. While viewing your pet from the side there should be a “tummy tuck” where the stomach should go up from the back of the ribcage to the inside of the pets thighs.
Now What Do I do?
There are many changes that can be made to your pet’s diet to help with weight loss. Sometimes, decreasing the amount of food fed by 1/8 to1/3 portion will be all your pet needs. Other times, cutting out all treats is the trick for weight loss with your pet. Most of the time it is a combination of many changes that will be the trick. Here are some suggestions:
- As discussed before: Cut back the amount of food fed by 1/8 to 1/3.
- Substitute vegetables like carrots or broccoli for treats.
- Of course, more exercise! Two 20 minute walks a day can make a dramatic difference with weight loss.
- This is for the people that feed their pets home-made diets: decrease the amount of carbohydrates in a meal. Increased carbohydrates in the body stimulate additional insulin to be produced which tells the body to store unused calories as fat!
- Communication and compliance with the entire household is a must! Often one member in the household will feel sorry for the dieting pet and give the pet “just a little” something extra. It would be more beneficial for the pet to take it for a walk or a run.
- Last but not least: weigh your pet every 2 to 3 weeks to ensure your efforts are working.